Robert Atkinson from the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information said this week at a forum on broad-band access, that "West Virginia is still in last place."

Broadband access in the state was the topic of the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation's special Round Table in Fairmont.

Congressman Alan Mollohan told the audience that both small businesses and large corporations need high-speed Internet for their operations and abilities.

Despite declarations by business, civic and political leaders about bringing rural states into the 21st Century, broadband availability and affordability is lacking in most of the Mountain State.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has established $7.2 billion in funding for broadband initiatives, said Mollohan.

It's unclear how the funding will help rural West Virginia.

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